Derby County Under-23s maintain top spot in Group C of the Premier League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Reading at the Loughborough University Stadium on Monday night.
Isaac Hutchinson scored in the first minute of the game for the Rams, coolly slotting into the top corner from inside the penalty to give the side the perfect start.
And, just before the half time interval, they made it two as Luke Plange added his name to the scoresheet as he excellently found the top corner from 18 yards to put the Rams in control.
Derby dominated for large parts but with only five minutes of the game remaining, Reading pulled a goal back as Jay Senga headed home.
However, despite late pressure from the Royals, Lyons’ side managed to hold on to the lead and remain top of their group.
Derby could not have wished for a better start and they opened the scoring after just 52 seconds on the clock. A ball into the box found Hutchinson and he struck sweetly to give the Rams control early in the encounter.
They bossed the opening stages and took the game to their visitors, who struggled to adapt to Derby's strong start.
The Rams forced their opponents into kicking long and a second goal looked a formality as they piled on the pressure.
However, midway through the half and against the run of play, Reading almost found an equaliser. A cross from the left found the head of Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan who flicked into the path of Reshann Scott but he fired over the crossbar.
Derby continued to come forward and almost found a second on the half hour mark. Liam Thompson’s free kick found the head of Plange, but he glanced wide from six yards out.
Striker Jack Stretton almost got his name on the scoresheet soon after being set through on goal by Plange soon after, but Reading goalkeeper Harvey Collins denied the striker from close range.
Derby did manage to get a second as half time approached. Osazee Aghatise found Plange on the edge of the box, he got the ball out of his feet and fired into the top corner from 18 yards to extend Derby’s advantage going into the half time interval.
Bartosz Cybulski was introduced at break in place of Stretton and it was the Rams who continued to pose a threat to their visitors.
Hutchinson let fly from 25 yards which was well handled by Collins, whilst at the other end, Derby had to be wary as Mamadi Camara went close, shooting over the crossbar from inside the penalty area.
Derby’s pressure and intensity almost paid off with a third goal as full back Kornell McDonald went close and with 15 minutes of the game remaining, Dylan Williams fired against the crossbar.
A strong run from Hutchinson saw him release Connor Dixon on the right-hand side. He drilled a cross into the box where it found Williams at the back post but his effort rebounded off the crossbar and away from danger.
However, with just over five minutes of the game remaining, Reading managed to pull a goal back. Senga headed past Harrison Foulkes to make it a nervy ending, as both the goalkeeper and goalscorer were booked in the aftermath.
And, despite late pressure from the visitors, Derby managed to hold on to their lead and registered their second win of the competition to pick up seven points from a possible nine at the halfway stage of the group stages.
The Under-23s are back in action at Loughborough University Stadium on Friday night when they host Manchester United in Premier League 2 - Division 1 as the Rams look to record back-to-back league wins for the first time this season (7pm kick-off).
Derby's next Premier League Cup tie will see the Under-23s host Norwich City on Monday 13th December (7pm kick-off) at Loughborough University Stadium.
Derby County Under-23s: Foulkes, McDonald, Williams, Thompson, Bardell, Cashin (C), Dixon, Aghatise (Clarke 83), Stretton (Cybulski 46), I Hutchinson, Plange (Grewall-Pollard 90).
Substitutes Not Used: Roberts (GK), R Hutchinson.
Reading Under-23s: Collins, Abrefa, Ashcroft, Purcell, Senga, Holzman, Scott, Osario, Ehibhatiomhan, Camara, Vickers.
Substitutes: Talent-Ayreetey, Rowley, Abdel-Salam, Campbell, Nyarko.